THERE is nothing easy about being a parent.

It is as demanding as it is rewarding; and as much hard work as it is joyous.

Kids don't come with an instruction manual or a book of rules. And it's true - one minute you want to throttle them, the next you want to cuddle them to bits.

It's a job with no pay packet (unless you count a baby bonus), the hours are 24-7 and the burden of responsibility weighs heavily - for those who take it seriously enough, anyway.

It's the most important job in the world - and also one of the most common. And, sadly, it is the most widely judged.

Everyone has an opinion on parenting. Everyone has scowled at a nearby child when the angelic halo has slipped to somewhere around their ankles.

Everyone has privately (or, sadly, publicly) chastised a parent for not doing their job properly. If you say you haven't you are lying.

Parenthood is open and out there for everyone to see and comment on.

But you know what? Most parents are just making it through the day, doing what they have to do to make things work.

They are grappling with everything from temper tantrums to hunger strikes to overflowing bathtubs to milk spills.

Then there is the guilt.

Yes. The. Guilt.

It is everywhere. It is chokingly overwhelming at times and even the most well-adjusted, perfectly fabulous mother or father trips into a pit of it at some point (or several) during the journey that is being a parent.

Possibly the most amazing fact, however, is that we can laugh off or offer a rude gesture to those who judge or point the finger at what they deem as inadequacies - our harshest critics are, in fact, ourselves

. So maybe it's time to cut ourselves some slack, to admit to doing a pretty good job most of the time.

Because on the whole, most of us aren't doing too badly.

Join in Stockland’s virtual kids holiday program

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The campaign is meant to inspire creativity and challenge kids to have fun.

Breaking: Three people injured in ATV rollover

premium_icon Breaking: Three people injured in ATV rollover

Paramedics are rushing to the scene of an ATV rollover at Benaraby

Two crews are on the scene at Turkey Beach

premium_icon Two crews are on the scene at Turkey Beach

Smoke in the region is from a hazard reduction burn at Turkey Beach.